The 3C model of motivation: How to unwind your brain

We all have goals that we want to achieve. But sometimes, we lay back and procrastinate. The reason could be a lack of motivation. 

Motivation is the desire to act and move towards a specific goal.

There has been a lot of research carried out to understand the fundamentals of motivation. But the most reliable is the 3C model.

Professor Hugo M. Kehr at the University of California, Berkeley, developed the 3C model of motivation. The model mentions all the sources of motivation that a man could have

  • Explicit motives: It is to the motives that we consciously ascribe ourselves.
  • Implicit motives: It refers to our motives in the unconscious reasons behind our actions. 
  • Perceived abilities: It refers to our belief in doing certain actions and achieving our goals.

Hugo uses a diagram of the heart, head, and hand to explain this. The Head represents the rational decisions and commitment towards the work, the heart represents the underlying desires and emotions, and the hand determines the skills. 

We can accomplish our goal only when all three are fulfilled, and we get in the flow.

However, there are times when we lack either of these when we feel extremely demotivated. We should rely upon the temporary way out of using our willpower to get the work done in such cases. It should be temporary because pushing through to achieve something without motivation will cause burnout in the long term.

How To Diagnose Demotivation 

The 3C model is extremely simple and helpful. It will take you to answer three questions to diagnose yourself.

  1. Head: Is this task important and necessary? 
  2. Heart: Do I enjoy the task?
  3. Hand: Am I skillful for this task?

The answer should help you to put effort wherever necessary. For example, suppose you answered yes to the head but no to the heart and hand, then you should find ways to make the task more enjoyable and learn new skills. Similarly, if your answer to the head was no, you should find more incentives to enjoy the task.


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